Striker Richard Barker, ex-Celtic man Mark Venus in Hartlepool United job frame

Mark Venus: Vast experience.
Mark Venus: Vast experience.
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Promotion hero Richard Barker and Hartlepool lad-made-good Mark Venus are among two late contenders for the Hartlepool United manager’s job

SportMail understands the selection may now go into next week, with the club having initially hoped to have an appointment made by today.

Former skipper Sam Collins still tops the list with the bookmakers at 1-2, but ex-Tranmere boss, Gary Brabin, has seen his odds cut to evens.

Chris Turner, who built Pools’ 2002-03 promotion side, emerged as a contender this week, but two former players are believed to have sent in applications at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

And both bring good CVs with them.

Barker, who scored nine priceless goals to fire Pools into League One in 2007, took Bury to promotion from League Two and has managed at Crawley and Portsmouth.

He had worked as Karl Robinson’s right-hand-man at MK Dons and Charlton, but, in the summer, returned to former club Rotherham United as Paul Warne’s number two.

Venus has a wealth of experience in the coaching department, having operated as the assistant to Tony Mowbray at a variety of clubs.

The 50-year-old, from Seaton Carew, has worked at Hibs, West Brom, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Coventry.

Venus, who started his career as left-back at Pools before playing for Leicester, Ipswich and Wolves, is currently without a club, having left his position as Coventry City’s technical director at the end of March.

It meant he missed out on the Sky Blues’ Wembley glory after they beat Oxford United in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Matthew Bates, who headed a four-man coaching staff with Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher for the last two games of Pools’ season, following the sacking of Dave Jones, is understood to have support among the playing squad.

Ex-Grimsby Town boss Marcus Bignot is among the favourites as is Craig Harrison, who has led The New Saints to title after title in the Welsh Premier League and managed in the Champions League.

Pools head of recruitment, Paul Watson, is leading the process alongside chairwoman, Pam Duxbury.